Pentagon cuts off ties with Russian military over Ukraine

McClatchy Washington BureauMarch 3, 2014 

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, salutes during the playing of the U.S. national anthem after a wreath-laying ceremony at the Russian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow on June 26, 2009.



The Pentagon said Monday evening it was freezing contacts with the Russian military over the Kremlin's incursion in Ukraine.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, called on Russian troops in the Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula to return to their bases as required under agreements with the Ukraine government.

"Although the Department of Defense finds value in the military-to-military relationship with the Russian Federation we have developed over the past few years to increase transparency, build understanding and reduce the risk of military miscalculation, we have, in light of recent events in Ukraine, put on hold all military-to-military engagements between the United States and Russia," Kirby said.

"This includes exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits and planning conferences," he said.

Kirby, however, knocked down what he described as media speculation about U.S. ship movements in response to the Russian aggression.

"There has been no change to our military posture in Europe or the Mediterranean," Kirby said. "Our Navy units continue to conduct routine, previously planned operations and exercises with allies and partners in the region."

The Pentagon's punitive move came a day after the United States and the six other leading industrialized democracies in the G-7 organization suspended their plans to participate in a June summit in Sochi, Russia, site of the recently completely Winter Olympics.



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